A temporary loss of feeling in one small area of the body caused by special drugs called anesthetics. The patient stays awake but has no feeling in the area of the body treated with the anesthetic. Local anesthetics may be injected or put on the skin to lessen pain during medical, surgical, or dental procedures. Some are available over-the-counter (without a doctor’s order) and may help lessen local pain, irritation, and itching caused by conditions such as cold sores, sunburn, poison ivy, and minor cuts.
Last updated: 2014-02-26
Source: The National Cancer Institute's Dictionary of Cancer Terms (http://www.cancer.gov/dictionary)